Russell Westbrook reached an achievement only one other person has in NBA history and promptly dedicated the performance to his slain friend.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard had a historic line of 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 21 assists. As Deadspin noted, only Wilt Chamberlain has achieved that gaudy stat line, a triple-double with at least 20 in each category. Those were also the only performances in NBA history where a player had 20 assists and 20 rebounds in the same game.
After the game, Westbrook dedicated the performance to friend Nipsey Hussle, the rapper who was killed in a shooting just two days before.
“That wasn’t for me… that’s for my bro man. That’s for Nipsey,” Westbrook said after the game.
Nipsey Hussle had deep ties to the NBA community, having grown up in Los Angeles at the same time as other future players, including Westbrook and James Harden.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was particularly close to Harden as the two were often seen together participating in charitable efforts and community projects. As Rockets Wire reported, the two grew up in the same Los Angeles neighborhood and attended Audubon Middle School together.
They remained close as both found success in their careers, with Nipsey Hussle congratulating Harden on his NBA MVP awards and NBA record contract extension, and Harden having his friend’s music played before home games at the Toyota Center.
Harden was even excused from practice on Monday, the day following Hussle’s death.
Police in Los Angeles identified 29-year-old Eric Ronald Holder as the suspect in the rapper’s shooting death and arrested him on Tuesday. As ABC 7 reported, police believe that Holder had an argument with Hussle in front of the store the rapper owned in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood, then returned with a gun and opened fire as he and a group of others exited the store later.
JR Smith Gets Nipsey Hussle Leg Tattoo, 'Long Live Nip!' https://t.co/hoOx3e0rMx— TMZ (@TMZ) April 3, 2019
Nipsey Hussle was mourned by figures across the country, from rappers to NBA players to political leaders. Within the Los Angeles community, Hussle had a reputation for trying to give back to his community and was scheduled to meet with the LAPD just a day after his death to discuss ways to end gang violence.
“He was somebody who was a gifted and brilliant artist, an entrepreneur who found global success, was working closely with the city to help save lives and transform lives even as he was doing that for himself,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.